This afternoon I took great pleasure in putting the latest edition of Local Government First magazine through the paper shredder and then into the paper recycling. This was instead of my usual method of disposal which is to put it straight into the recycling bag (as I’ve reported previously, after being promised the new recycling bins in spring 2008, Walkden residents won’t see any sign of them until well into 2009).
Like most Councillors I very rarely read through First – in fact I’ve yet to meet a Councillor who actually admits to reading it. Which begs the question, why does it even exist at all?
Now I’ve been pretty vociferous recently about Salford City Council’s ridiculous use of taxpayers’ money on publicity, and I see no reason why the Local Government Association should be any different. Mailing out a glossy magazine to thousands of Councillors across the country every week or so is an expensive business – especially when (first of all) the magazine does not get read and (secondly) the entire content is available online anyway.
Sending an email out to all 19000 or so Councillors every week instead of posting the magazine would save upwards of £250000 per annum (probably considerably more) in mailing and production costs. That may be a tiny fraction of the money spent on Local Government in this country but as Councillors we are supposed to be cutting down on waste and setting a good example. The LGA (and yes before someone points this out I am well aware it is Conservative-led) is not immune from that and indeed should be taking a lead. Scrapping Local Government First would be a good start.